If you haven’t yet, you should really go read this story from my colleagues Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Charlie Wells about the crazy world of pump-and-dump memecoin cryptocurrencies. It’s wild. It’s shady. And some people are making a ton of money.
This is a recurring feature of the crypto market in which, when the bull market gets old, people start creating their own coins to match the public’s insatiable demand for things to speculate on.
Earlier this week, after I expressed interest in the subject on Twitter, someone launched a coin and got it trading within 45 minutes.
It turns out, the whole process is much faster than that.
Earlier today two people who reached out to me on Twitter, the pseudonymous AutomataEmily and Deli Gong (both based in Singapore), connected with me over Zoom and walked me through the process of creating a currency called WART and getting it listed on the decentralized exchange PancakeSwap in less than 10 minutes.
Now, just to be clear, I don’t hold any of the coins myself, though they offered to send some to me in a wallet.
But yes, it really was astonishingly easy, based on some pre-set templates and software. It’s basically a matter of some dropdown menus.
For example, here we are entering in a few variables, including the name of the coin and the amount of it:
A few minutes later, here are Emily and Deli seeding the smart contract with some BNB (the way these decentralized exchanges work is that you have to put in both the token as well as the other side of the pair — in this case the Binance Token, as PancakeSwap runs on the Binance Smart Chain).
Here’s them finding the listing on PancakeSwap and so forth:
There were a few more steps than this. But no joke, the entire process from picking a few parameters (name of the coin, the amount of coins that would be willed into existence, feeding a liquidity pool on PancakeSwap, and making it theoretically available to trade) was just a few minutes.
And if you had a network of influencers, you would then try to get them to pump it.
Incidentally, when they’re not demonstrating memecoin creation over Zoom, Emily (not her real name, apparently) and Deli are working on more serious infrastructure projects in the Ethereum ecosystem.
One of their projects is the Automota Network, which aims to create greater privacy in crypto trading, with the aim of thwarting front-runners.
The basic idea is that in any blockchain-based system, all orders are public. And there’s a queue (a so-called mempool) where orders sit before they’re processed by the miners.
And because the chain is entirely public, fast-acting traders can identify opportunities to front-run trades that are sitting in the mempool, exploiting potential arbitrage opportunities.
Here’s a good read about them on Coindesk. So their work is focused on coming up with ways to trade that reduce the opportunity to be front-run on trades.
Reporting by Joe Weisenthal.